I would hate to think that anything Lynn Flewelling writes deserves less than it’s own spotlight, but I couldn’t help being struck by how apropos the title to the first book of her acclaimed Nightrunner series is considering the other book we’re celebrating today for the 25 Years of Spectra: Luck in the Shadows. I mean, if there’s a Spectra book that casts a big shadow, it’s going to be A Game of Thrones, and yet Lynn’s book–with perhaps a little bit of luck (but mostly because it’s a great novel and she’s a fantastic writer)–made it out from that looming presence to start a series that’s already five-books strong (with the release of The White Road this summer, she’s surpassed the book total of A Song of Ice and Fire now, too. Just sayin’.)
Perhaps even luckier for us, Lynn has written her own thoughts and impressions of working on this novel, as has her editor, Spectra Senior Editor Anne Groell, both of which you can read below.
“I have the singular honor of my first novel, Luck in the Shadows, being the first book Anne Groell, acquired when she came to Spectra. I remember our mutual excitement when Luck was published, a real book we could hold in our hands. There’s nothing like that feeling. My agent was also relatively new to the business back in 1995 when we all joined forces. Over the past fifteen years marriages have happened, babies have been born, and books, too. On May 25th, Spectra released my eighth Spectra novel, The White Road.
When my agent, Lucienne Diver, was shopping Luck around, she impressed upon me the importance of working with the right editor. She compared it to a marriage, and a marriage to the wrong person is a misery. She certainly got me into the right relationship. Anne and I have worked closely on each of my books. When I get each initial draft back, it of course comes with a lengthy, detailed editorial letter, which is always a great help, if not always cheerfully greeted. But what I really look for are the little smiley faces, exclamation points, and “Nice!” she writes in the margins as she reads. She makes lots of notes, pointing out problems, but she always lets me know what she enjoys, too. That means a lot.
It also means a lot that she’s been 100% supportive of my choice to include queer characters, including the heroes of the Nightrunner Series. Back when I was first writing Luck in the Shadows and Stalking Darkness, friends and family fretted that by making the hero openly and unapologetically bisexual, I was dooming my work to rejection. That sort of thing wasn’t as common and generally accepted then as it is now, so I worried about that myself. In later years that series has actually been rejected by a few foreign editors because of it. But all I remember Anne saying is something along the lines of “That’s fine. I love this book!” If she had to fight any battles on my behalf over that, I never heard about it. Whatever the case, thank you, Anne and thanks to Spectra. It’s been a good fifteen years.”
–Lynn Flewelling, June 2010
“As Lynn said, she was indeed the first author I picked up after my move to Bantam. And it was definitely a case of love at first read. From the opening pages, I was sucked into her story, and it was definitely one of those manuscripts I had to finish before I could even contemplate something as mundane as sleeping.
In fact, I remember the very moment when I knew I had to own this book, no matter what. About halfway through was the line: “Then there was the time he turned himself into a brick.” To hell with: “You had me at ‘hello.’” Lynn had me at the brick.
My favorite memory of editing Lynn comes not from this book however, but from its companion piece, Stalking Darkness. Like many folks, I had fallen hard for Alec and Seregil, and was waiting eagerly for that moment when they finally got together–and finally acknowledged all the feelings which had been simmering between them for so many pages now. I wanted it to be utterly perfect. So there I was, tearing through the second book, forgetting the world around me in my anticipation to get to The Moment. And when it came…it was all wrong. I can’t remember the specific details any more, but I do remember feeling a moment of profound sadness, and thinking. “Oh, no. No, no.” And then, a moment later, quite consciously remembering: “Oh, wait, I’m the editor. I can fix this!”
It’s really rare to make an editor forget her job, and Lynn is one of the few who has ever managed it. I consider it a true testament to her talents. And it is probably one of the reasons why working with her has been–and remains–one of the highlights of my job.”
–Anne Groell, Spectra Senior Editor, June 2010
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